NHS Improvement has published a National Patient Safety Alert highlighting the risk for depleted batteries in intraosseous (IO) injectors.
Healthcare providers use the IO route to access the venous system when the administration of drugs or fluids through the intravenous routes is not possible, particularly during emergencies such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A battery-powered injector is typically used to get IO access.
The battery remains sealed within the device and cannot be recharged or replaced. Additionally, certain models do not have a battery power indicator and often failure of the device to operate is the first and only sign of depleted batteries. In the past three years, there have been 42 reports of delays in administering medications through the IO route because of device failure due to depleted batteries. Such scenarios may be dangerous to patients who are already in cardiac arrest or critically ill.
The alert urges providers to replace IO devices lacking a battery power indicator light with ones that have a display indicator. For devices that already have a battery power indicator, it is imperative to regularly check the devices to ensure that they have adequate battery power and are readily available when required.